Comparative Criminal Justice Clinic: Focus on Domestic Violence
Professor Holly Maguigan
Professor Shamita Das Dasgupta
Open to 3L, 2L and LL.M. students*
Maximum of 12-15 students
No prerequisites or co-requisites (see "Qualifications for Applicants" below)
The Comparative Criminal Justice Clinic offers students the opportunity (1) to compare and contrast different nations' use of criminal prosecution to combat domestic violence, (2) to develop a critical analysis of the advantages and limitations of different criminal justice strategies, and (3) to assist lawyers, agencies and community-based organizations working to devise and implement changes in those strategies.
Domestic violence occurs everywhere, with different resonances in different cultures. Every country has a criminal justice system, but the attempt to use arrest and prosecution as tools against domestic violence is far from universal. Within each nation where domestic violence is prosecuted, there is debate about whether a criminal-court approach will ever make more than a marginal difference. This debate, examined in a comparative and interdisciplinary context, is the focus of the weekly seminar.
Specific areas of inquiry will include mandatory arrest, prosecutorial discretion, no-drop policies, and mandatory reporting to law enforcement by health care providers. In each area we will analyze the potential for racial, cultural, and gender bias in the policy’s implementation. The main points of comparison will be India and the United States.
All fieldwork placements will be in New York City. They include criminal defense offices, advocacy organizations, community-based organizations and, occasionally, governmental offices. Every student will have client contact and responsibility, and the placements will offer opportunities ranging from direct representation of an individual to provision of advice to an agency on policy and strategy issues. In Spring 2009 students worked on criminal defense teams representing battered women accused of crimes in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens with lawyers at the Legal Aid Society and in private practice. Students on the civil side worked with attorneys at the following community-based organizations: Sanctuary for Families, Connect, Urban Justice Center, and Safe Horizon. Students should plan on spending 12-20 hours a week on fieldwork (3-5 hours per credit).
Substantial Writing Credit
Students who plan to fulfil this writing requirement in connection with the seminar should meet with Professor Maguigan once during the Fall 2009 semester. Call her at (212) 998-6433 or email to arrange an appointment.
Qualifications for Applicants
This course is open to second-year and third-year J.D. students, to LL.M. students, and to M.S.W. and Ph.D. candidates at SIlver School of Social Work. There are no prerequisites, but students will find it helpful to have academic training or practical experience in one or more of the following areas: criminal procedure, comparative or international law, evidence, domestic violence counselling, advocacy, litigation or policy, and interdisciplinary work. Law students who wish to work in the area of criminal defense should have taken criminal procedure and evidence.
Interested Interested students should submit an application, resume and grade transcript through CAMS. Students will be selected on the basis of their applications and interviews with faculty. Current CCJ students are available to answer questions. Social work students are Jennifer Hernandez, Neena Ajwani and Anja Dobri. Law students include Myra Berman, Avni Bhatia, Courtney Cross, Nikhil Dutta, Daniel Engel, Katie Erno, DaiWai Chin Feman, Ashley Few, Abby Herzberg, Krenice Roseman and Maneka Sinha.
Places are reserved for transfer and LL.M. students. Their application deadline is October 15, 2009. Applicants should download the application form from the clinic website and email it with a resume and an informal transcript to Damaris Marrero and to Holly Maguigan.
For more information about the clinic, please contact Professor Shamita Das Dasgupta, Professor Maguigan at (212) 998-6433 or via email, or former students listed above. You may also reach the clinic administrator Damaris Marrero, at 212-998-6473, or via email. Ms. Marrero will schedule the interviews.
* This clinic is also open to M.S.W. and Ph.D. candidates at the Silver School of Social Work.
** 7 credits includes 4 clinical credits and 3 academic seminar credits.